In my last post before the Worst Thing happened, the one where I talked about being scared about the Worst Thing (EFF, right?), I ended with an HP quote from Hagrid, the loveable half-giant groundskeeper of Hogwarts. I said:
It’s funny because I thought that when the IVF was over, we’d have an answer and I’d feel resolved in some way. But I don’t. Not at all. Excited and happy, of course, but definitely not resolved. And what I probably need most of all is to circle back to that lovely prayer of relinquishment — the one that, with both hope and gratitude, accepts what is to be. Or, as Hagrid says, “What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.”
It made sense when I said it. It made me feel like a confident person, ready to handle anything, good or bad, with a bit of grace.
I’m devastated and angry and broken and oh so messy — always on the brink of a sob, full on water works with snot and ugly crying and ohmygod why does my mouth do that. Swollen lips and puffy eyes. Kleenexes and kleenexes and kleenexes. There is not a single thing that is graceful or dignified, stoic or brave about it.
But I finished HP very, very early on Friday morning (I fought the sleeping pills — which are the only thing keeping me alive, I believe — until 1:40 in the morning, just to see sweet Albus Severus get on the Hogwarts Express). And it was fitting that I finish it now, the end of the series coinciding with the end of… everything. The IVF, the pregnancy, all of it. Interestingly, though, the thing that meant the most to me this time around wasn’t the defeat of Voldemort, the duel between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange (“Not my daughter, you bitch!”), or Neville’s moment of glory. I still felt sad over poor Fred and overjoyed at Ron + Hermione. Grateful to Narcissa and shocked, pleased, amazed over Snape. But the thing that meant the most this time around… it was Hagrid’s grief over Harry’s lifeless body. His absolute devastation in that moment, the messy, sloppy tears and absolute wretchedness. It led me back to remember the other moments that Hagrid wept, over Buckbeak (whew) and Aragog (also whew?). Nearly lost it when he discussed his dear, departed dad.
The very same Hagrid who said with confidence implying grace and stoicism: “What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.” And I suddenly felt just a little less stupid about all the things I’d said. Have ever said. The things I told my therapist made me a complete and total idiot, full of shit, writing and writing and writing about things that made absolutely no sense and that I didn’t actually believe when it came right down to it. (He said that we probably didn’t need to discuss that quite yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t obsessed anyway.) Because what was coming did come, and I have met it as I am. Having said all the things I said and wrote all the things I wrote. I never did promise to meet it with grace, just to meet it — because what, exactly, does grace look like when your baby dies??? Quite frankly, I reacted just like Hagrid would have. A curly-haired, creature-loving, half-giantess in my own right. Snot and tears and full on grief — grief because I loved. Like Hagrid.
But, sadly, also like Voldemort. Because when my baby died, a piece of my soul went with her. My grief is like Slytherin’s locket turned horcrux, hanging heavy around my neck. Making me think crazy, twisted, untrue thoughts — all the reasons it’s my fault, all the reasons I deserve to hurt, to have lost, to not be a mom. It drove Ron mad, and he was magical… what chance do I have?
But then again, Ron found his way back. The strength to try again. I guess I have to believe that I will too because despite the fantasy, the magic, the make believe… is there anything truer than Harry Potter? Good and evil, yet nuanced — “the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.” And outside us too. We all spend time basking in the brightest light and plunged into the deepest dark. Harry, Hermione, and Ron… Ginny, Luna, and Neville… Hagrid and sweet Dobbie, even Kreacher… they can teach us so much about that.
I started re-reading the series from the beginning on the day I started injecting the IVF drugs, in the hopes of producing a baby who loved it too. Of imbuing my eggs with a sense of magic. Of passing that on to my little one.
But she didn’t need it. I did.
It’s fiction. Children’s stories. But it’s parables too. Messages and lessons and thoughts worth thinking about, characters worth learning from. When nothing else helps, I’m glad I had it. Have it. Magic.